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Understanding and Treating Osteoarthritis in the Hand and Wrist

Osteoarthritis in the hand and wrist is the most common form of degenerative inflammatory arthritis. Typically the result of cartilage erosion from long-term repetitive movements, Osteoarthritis can manifest in just about any joint in the human body, but the wrist is especially prone to this injury because it is one of the most frequently used joints. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition for Osteoarthritis, while in others it can also be triggered by a fracture or an intense sprain. While not dangerous, Osteoarthritis makes accomplishing simple tasks painfully difficult. The following are common symptoms and treatments for Osteoarthritis in the hand and wrist.

Symptoms of Wrist Osteoarthritis

These symptoms are often associated with Osteoarthritis in the hands and wrists. If any of the following apply to you, it is recommended to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

  • Inflexibility and pain in the wrist joint.
  • Stiffness after periods of inactivity.
  • After prolonged use, your wrist joint may fill with fluid and feel tight or swollen.
  • Occasionally when using your wrist, you may hear a creaky or squeaky noise known as creitus.
  • Feeling weak and unable to perform simple tasks such as unlocking a door or opening a jar.
  • Bony growths on the hand.

Treatment of Wrist Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are treatments that can greatly reduce pain and make day-to-day tasks easier. Surgery is rarely considered necessary so there are quite a few noninvasive treatments proven to help with osteoarthritis symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about treatment options and be sure to ask your doctor if any of the following can benefit you.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Thermal therapy has been proven effective for relieving pain. Heating pads or arthritis gloves are great options. You can also try heat compresses or paraffin wax hand dips for soothing painful areas.
  • Take regular breaks if you work in a position that requires a lot of typing or hand movements.
  • Wrist braces can be used to provide support and alleviate pain during activities.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent discomfort over time. Speak to your physician or physical therapists for the best stretches and strengthening movements for you.

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